Thirteen Fundamental Truths

Back in 1986 I documented a list of 13 fundamental truths that applied to all organizations. I ran across these statements recently when I was looking for some comments made by a past IBM president that I wanted to use in a new book I am writing. As I thought back over the past 25 years, I realized that Continue reading

Let’s Stop Paying Lip Service to Excellence

The time has come to change our standards. Our companies must make fewer errors and permit fewer defects. Poor employee training, inferior supervision and one-way communication must be corrected. It’s time to stop accepting mediocre performance as “exceeds expectations.” An error rate of 3.4 errors per million opportunities isn’t good enough. We must embark on a new philosophy of Continue reading

The Quality Conundrum

When you’ve been involved in quality for as long as I have, you begin to wonder just where we’re going. I hear ever-younger consultants telling us about what’s new and different, but it all sounds like the same quality methodology I was introduced to 72 years ago, when my father began to keep control charts on my first-grade tests. (At that time Dad was the chief inspector at IBM.) Continue reading

Basic Block and Tackle

Last year was a landmark for U.S. automakers. Ford Motor Co., the founder of the auto industry in the United States, lost its longstanding second place standing to Toyota Motor Corp., and General Motors Corp. may also bite the dust because Toyota sold more cars in the United States last year than GM did. Chrysler produced thousands of cars that it wasn’t able to sell. In 2000, about two-thirds of all cars purchased in North America were bought from U.S. companies. That figure has now dropped to 54 percent. Detroit sales keep falling while Japanese and Korean auto companies gain ground in the U.S. market. Consumer Reports recommends a much smaller percentage of autos manufactured by U.S. companies than by their Japanese counterparts—37 percent to 80 percent, respectively. “[U.S. companies’] reliability is hit-or-miss,” it states, “not consistent like that of vehicles from some Japanese companies.” Continue reading